Daily View 2×2: 5 October 2009

2 Big Stories

Tory conference opens, and it’s time to party like it’s 1994

A few thousand Tories are converging on Manchester today, with two issues dominating discussion: Europe and welfare cuts. Ah, and there we were thinking The Major Years were but a distant memory.

On a more positive note, the Tories will be singing today from the localism song-book, with Caroline Spelman championing the party’s conversion to local control of local services – an interesting about-turn for an MP who opposed Scottish and Welsh devolution, and believes central government should impose council tax freezes from Whitehall.

Ministerial pension pots up 30% in just one year

As the Telegraph reported at the weekend:

Lib Dem treasury spokesman, Lord (Matthew) Oakeshott was scathing:

Ministers’ pension pots shot up by 30% last year while private pensions plummeted. The yawning chasm between public and private pensions is unhealthy for our economy and democracy.

“Harriet Harman, for example, will be able to retire next year at 60 with a total pension pot worth almost £1.5m. But the women’s state pension age goes up next year to 61 and to 65 by 2020. How equal is that?

“The Government must act urgently after this week’s wake-up call from the IMF. Public Sector fat cats must come off their double cream pensions and onto an affordable pensions diet, like the millions of taxpayers on modest and middle incomes who have to pay the bill. How is it fair for civil servants to go and retire at 60 for the next 35 years when most people must work to 65 or 70?

“The Tories must come clean this week on what they would do about rocketing public sector pension costs, otherwise there is a hole in the heart of their economic policy.”

Official figures unearthed by the Liberal Democrats show that total pension funds for the members of the Government have shot up from the £6,888,081 declared last year to £8,954,348 this year.

2 Must-Read Blog-Posts

Land and Libertarians (Jock Coats)

I am a libertarian. I am a “land taxer”. Some people seem to believe one cannot be both.

Jock explains why some people are wrong.

Debating the future of Britain (Peter Black AM)

By all means stage separate debates amongst the party leaders in Wales and Scotland but in this particular instance we should be clear, this is a United Kingdom election and as such debates between Prime Ministerial candidates should feature UK-wide parties alone.

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